Community stocks barracks for returning Fort Polk Soldiers

FORT POLK, La. (KALB) - The 46th Engineer Battalion is getting ready to come back to Fort Polk, after nine months overseas. As families prepare to hug their loved ones, community members are making sure the single soldiers will feel right at home.

On Monday, the Vernon Parish Chamber of Commerce, business leaders, and military spouses gathered on base to create welcome home bags for more than 100 returning soldiers.

It's something they first did a few months ago when soldiers with the 10th Mountain Division returned home. The goal is to fill the empty barracks with basic essentials and snacks so a single soldier can relax as soon as they kick their boots off.

Soldiers and volunteers also make sure rooms are clean and beds are made.

"They are getting the rooms all issued," said military spouse Lauren Eckelkamp. "They will get them all cleaned up and we will get the beds all made so they can come home and shower off, and feel somewhat homey when they get home from deployment."

Chamber of Commerce Director Anne Causey said she wants them to know how much Leesville cares.

"We would not want anyone to leave Fort Polk without knowing they are appreciated," Causey said. "Our soldiers are why we are free and so we do everything to take care of them."

The soldiers are expected home sometime this month.

Causey said multiple businesses helped out including Lowe's, Walmart, Noles Frye, Fairway Independent Mortgage and many more.

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